LEEDS United forward Samuel Saiz has been banned for six matches for spitting during Sunday's FA Cup defeat at Newport County AFC, the Football Association has confirmed.

Spaniard Saiz was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean for spitting at County’s Robbie Willmott in stoppage time at the end of Leeds' shock 2-1 defeat at Rodney Parade.

UEFA's rulebook punishes spitting with a mandatory six-game ban and the FA announced Saiz's suspension on their official website, subject to any appeal.

Referee Dean confirmed after the third-round tie that he showed Saiz the red card for spitting and Leeds could now lose the influential Spaniard from their Championship promotion bid until the end of February.

Saiz will be sidelined until the Championship fixture at Derby on February 20 and will miss six league games as Leeds bid to maintain their play-off challenge.

When told of the spitting allegation in the post-match press conference, Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen replied: "If that's right why he got the red card then it's a problem.

"This is something we need to talk about. We need to speak and we'll see what happens."

It is not the first time that Saiz has been involved in a spitting row since joining Leeds from Huesca last summer.

Port Vale manager Michael Brown said Saiz spat at his defender Joe Davis during a Carabao Cup tie in August, but the Football Association did not bring any charges against the 26-year-old.

Following the ban, Saiz issued an apology on the Leeds website.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the players, staff and supporters of Leeds United for my behaviour in yesterday’s game at Newport County AFC.

“I would also like to apologise to Newport County AFC and Robbie Willmott for my actions.

“I accept the punishment handed to me by The FA.

“My actions are inexcusable, I give my word to all those connected to Leeds United Football Club that I will learn from this situation and never repeat it.

“I am grateful for the support I receive from our fans and I understand that I am a role model to the next generation of Leeds supporters, I will ensure that my behaviour moving forward reflects that.”

The club added: “Samuel’s behaviour was unacceptable and the player will now be subject to an internal disciplinary hearing on top of serving a six game ban.”

Willmott says he forgives Saiz, who is one of his favourite players.

"There is absolutely no hard feelings from me, he's actually one of my favourite players in the Championship, I enjoy watching him," he told Good Evening Wales.

"It was a heat of the moment thing, I think he went a little bit over the top, but I wish him and Leeds all the best in the rest of the season and I hope they get promoted."